Spatiotemporal PFQNM visualization of the effect of suicide dendriplexes on dividing HeLa cells

Hosam G. Abdelhady, Hassan A. Abdel-Salam, Esmaeel M. Niazy, Anja Mueller, Matthew J. Quast, Ahmed M. Effat, Serag Eldin I. Elbehairi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Suicide gene delivery is significant in cancer therapy but has not been fully investigated on a cellular scale. Here, Peak Force Quantitative Nanomechanical atomic force microscopy (PFQNM-AFM) was applied to visualize the effect of herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase dendriplexes (G4AcFaHSTK) on the morphological and nanomechanical properties of individual live and dividing HeLa cells. Cells were then exposed to G4AcFaHSTK, followed by ganciclovir, and directly imaged by real-time PFQNM-AFM. Cell membrane liquefaction, cytoplasmic shrinkage, and cytoskeleton structure loss were observed during cell division. The average Young's modulus of the nuclear region increased with time as the cell continued from metaphase (6.29 kPa) to telophase (13.6 kPa) and then decreased (2.25 kPa) upon apoptosis. In contrast, cells exposed to either ganciclovir or G4AcFaHSTK alone have no changes. Thus, understanding the real-time effects of suicide dendriplexes on the cytoskeletal and nanomechanical behaviors of cancer cells may provide new methods for cancer treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2365-2371
Number of pages7
JournalNanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


  • Atomic force microscopy (AFM)
  • Dendrimers
  • Dendriplexes
  • Herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase (HSTK)
  • Peak Force Quantitative Nanomechanical (PFQNM)
  • Young's modulus (YM)


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